Book review: Colour me beautiful as spring draws near

Colouring and drawing are all the fashion now for frazzled adults who need to unwind, de-stress and switch off from busy lives.

By Pam Norfolk
Tuesday, 24th February 2015, 9:00 am
Colour me beautiful as spring draws near
Colour me beautiful as spring draws near

Enjoying artwork in all its different forms has long been known to enhance the thought processes and provide a calming yet highly creative way to free the mind.

Independent publishing house Michael O’Mara Books has a stunning selection of beautifully produced and highly original colouring books, and it has added a delightful facsimile of E. G. Lutz’s classic 1913 book What to Draw and How to Draw It for those seeking some artistic know-how.

What to Draw and How to Draw It by E. G. Lutz

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Get your pencils at the ready and learn how to unleash your inner creativity!

This fascinating reproduction of a 100-year-old book – said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s career in animation – is the first step to making your own beautiful line drawings.

A brilliant American newspaper columnist, E. G. Lutz specialised in cartoons, drawing animals and designing optical toys for youngsters to cut out and make in the special children’s section of the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Legend has it that a teenage Walt discovered Lutz’s book, Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, while he was working at the Kansas City Film Ad Company. From the book, he learned the many tricks of the trade including how to hold and repeat drawings.

Lutz’s method of drawing complex illustrations in gradual, simplified stages paved the way for many of the artists and illustrators who followed him.

In What to Draw and How to Draw It, he gives us a wonderful masterclass in drawing a range of subjects, from animals and people to toys, buildings and landscapes. Pictures are broken down into simple shapes and lines, which are then built up, with the aid of clear step-by-step instructions, into beautiful drawings.

The method is simple enough for children to follow yet uses the same principles that can be seen in sophisticated artworks and animations today. Budding artists of all ages can develop their skills and learn a real sense of proportion and form, which they can go on to use in their own illustrations.

Nostalgic and yet timeless, this historically and culturally important book has inspired many adults and children to draw over the last century and can help a new generation to discover the delights of creating their own artwork.

A picture perfect way to make your own masterpiece…

(Michael O’Mara, hardback, £9.99)

Age 8 plus:

The Big Beautiful Colouring Book by Hannah Davies

And children can get in on the art craze – big time – with a super outsize colouring book packed with stunning pictures.

The Big Beautiful Colouring Book is a sumptuous new large format colouring book, ideal for those who delight in artistic detail on a grand scale. From amazing and exotic scenes to intricate patterns, this book is big enough to share, and the perforated pages allow completed pictures to be torn out and displayed with pride.

Big really is beautiful in this brilliant book.

(Buster Books, paperback, £12.99)

Age 7-12:

Colour With Mum by Emily Golden Twomey, Jessie Eckel, Hannah Wood

And how about a gorgeous colouring book that’s just perfect for Mother’s Day?

Colour With Mum invites mothers and their children to work together, side by side, to create beautiful pictures… and it means mums will no longer have to steal their children’s colouring books to get their colouring fix!

Each spread in this large, inventive book features two pictures – one more complex than the other but both sharing the same theme. Choose from a desert palace or a woodland palace, the northern lights or an Arctic adventure, high-class hats or simple accessories, shimmering stars or pretty planets.

The large, spiral-bound format enables artists to open the book so the sturdy pages are completely flat. All you have to do then is decide who tackles which picture, tear out the finished masterpiece complete with box for artist’s signature, and decide whose picture will take pride of place on the fridge.

The ideal gift for competitive kids… and creative mums!

(Buster Books, paperback, £9.99)

Age 3-6:

Fingerprint Fun by Jorge Martin

Don’t worry if you don’t have a paintbrush… here’s a book for little ones that requires only painted fingertips!

Children will love adding their own ‘painty’ prints to the pages to bring a whole host of animals, objects and playful scenes to life. From giving a cheetah his spots to covering a floor with muddy paw prints and making it pour with rain, creative kids will have hours of fun transforming this simple book with just a few paint-covered fingerprints!

The crafty way to beat boredom!

Fingerprint Fun will be published in April.

(Buster Books, paperback, £5)